Q man-of-vancouver asked you:
"Bleed Into Me" makes me shivering and thinking to Twin Peaks! Would you like collaborate with David Lynch for a song or a video?
A Yes that would be great. Bleed into Me is about falling in love with a river, instead of a human- which I find very romantic- the idea of being consumed and carried away, of having absolute trust in a force which is so much bigger than you, and could kill you.
Q zeblouze asked you:
What sort of job you could really not do ? And If not a musician what would you like to be ? Btw, Thx a lot for your music and poetry….
A I’m really bad at maths, so I’d be terrible at anything involving that. I think I would be a very poor painter if I wasn’t a musician.
fayarctos asked you:
What’s the best thing to make you feel happy during a boring day or week?
A When I’m on tour and I have a good show it makes me happy. I remember I really enjoyed Strasbourg, the audience was lovely- I met some very kind people..
Tonight’s show in Barcelona was a lot of fun. I like it when the audience is really close.
Q Hi Anna, I’m a big fan of your guitar playing so I’d like to ask if you could please elaborate on your (guitar) practice routines. When you’re not touring, approximately how much time in a day do you spend practising and playing? And how different is this nowadays compared to, say, 10 years ago? Thank you and all the best to you! Simon
A I feel guilty saying this, but I don’t practise anymore! I do warm up before a show though,- first I warm up my hand ( I’m always cold) I then do some arm stretches. I go through some fast scale runs, simple ones like the pentatonic scale, and then I do some arpeggios. My advice for practicing in general is to learn arpeggios- they provide the biggest freedom when you’re soloing. Django Reinhardt used arpeggios constantly, and he sounded amazing!
Q fayarctos asked you:
coffee, milk or hot chocolate??
A hot chocolate
Q nervousnrg asked you:
Anna you’re one of my guitar idols, you’re a galvanizing and visceral player. I’ve been playing guitar for 8ish years and I feel overwhelmed by the joy I feel when playing, so I want to pursue a life centered around that joy… I want to know what advice you would share with a younger guitarist ?
A thankyou! I think you should try playing in the dark- so you can’t rely on technical ability and common sense. It will become more emotional. Don’t be afraid to play wrong notes. Whatever your weakness is, try and make it a feature of your playing, rather than possibly feeling bad about it. No one wants to hear a robot play guitar. I have a weaker right hand, so I started picking less, and used sweep picking a lot instead. I developed my own way of using my right hand and now I’m kind of happy about it.
Q Do you find it difficult to not judge people based on their musical taste?
A I don’t really judge people, but I find sometimes I’m more attracted to people who have similar tastes in music as me
Q csgvg asked you:
I Anna:) Have you seen the movie ‘The Hunger’ (1983)?
A No but I’m going to!
Q diane1130am asked you:
Your music seems to have a Spanish influence. Are there any Spanish musicians you particularly enjoy? I’m looking forward to your concert in Barcelona!
A I really love flamenco music, I listened to Paco de Lucia a lot when I was younger
Q what was your coolest touring experience?
A A year or two ago I played by the beach somewhere in Italy, I forget the place. After the show the moon was full and it was warm so I stripped off and jumped in the sea, whilst an awkward looking bouncer stood by the shore with my clothes! That was a fun night.
Q amenunicorns asked you:
What do you think is the main difference between your first and second albums?
A it’s hard for me to say, because I feel too close to both of them. It feels more like a continuing evolution rather than arriving somewhere. I have fond feelings of both records, and for both records I hear things I would do differently again.
amenunicorns asked you:
Do you plan on ever coming to Brazil? It would be great to see you live, since I think it’s the best way to feel your music entirely. You make me cry everytime I listen to your albums and it makes me feel in love. Thank you, by the way!
A I would really love to come to Brazil, I hope one day I can. And thank you for your sweet words!
Q Hello Anna:) This might seem like a weird question but do you believe that experience in life is important in order to write good songs? I’m 23 yrs old, i love writing but sometimes I feel as if my life hasn’t been spectacular enough to offer enough substance for songwriting..I would love to hear your opinion. Greets —Salomé
A I don’t think it’s necessarily about life experience. I think it’s more about seeing poetry in normal things, and being able to be introspective. I thinks songs should just come out of what moves you, because that will probably move other people too.
Q trollumbo asked you:
Hi, you´re going to Bratislava, Slovakia in March 2014. We´re very pleased, but do you know something about this small country? :-)
A When I was at University I went travelling around Eastern Europe and I stayed in Bratislava, I remember it being very beautiful!
Q Do you ever get tired of playing your own songs? How do you stay engaged with and connected to your music after touring as much as you have?
A I don’t really get tired of it, as long as the audience feels engaged. I just try and perform with as much passion as I can, and think about how to sing them in an emotional way. Every night it feels slightly different.
Q luckythelab asked you:
hi Anna, have you ever read ‘Steppenwolf’ by Hesse? the themes in it greatly reminded me of some of your songs (e.g. The Devil) p.s. i love your music!! from Sarah :)
A I haven’t but I’m intrigued…
Q I read you’re a vegetarian…What kind of foods do you typically eat to sustain yourself, especially while on tour? Do you eat or exercise differently when you’re at home vs. when you’re on the road?
A Being a vegetarian on tour is a nightmare. Mally is a vegetarian too, and we suffer. The other night we were given pasta with yellow curry sauce. I swim when I’m at home but on tour I don’t do any excercise, it’s quite unhealthy.
Q cologne-she-wears asked you:
When I’m listening to your songs ,I can tell how intimate they are and how much you expose yourself but at the same time they seem ‘out of this world’. What inspires you or what kind of impulse do you need for your songwriting?
A I just have to be moved by something, something in my life, or by a song, or a film. I did a radio show a few months ago in Paris and they brought on an opera singer to sing an excerpt of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. I started crying, I was so affected by it. I feel things quite intensely, which is good for creativity, but difficult in every day life.
Q What gauge strings do you use? I know it’s a super nerdy question, but I just can’t help myself. Cheers :)
A I use 9 Gauge strings, because they’re quite light so they’re good for string bending.
Q Dear Anna, I wondered if you intend to play the violin onstage someday. Best wishes, Anika
A It takes a lot of practise to get the violin sounding good, but I would like to try that on stage one day!
Q Hi Anna. :) Do you plan on experimenting with your stage outfits more in the future? Or do you consider your current flamenco/matador influenced look a permanent part of your identity?
A At the moment it still feels right, but if it feels opposed to the music I will change it. I just have to let the music decide.
Q Hi Anna. One of my favourite songs of yours is The Bridge, but do you think you’ll ever reveal the lyrics to it? Which also makes me wonder about why you don’t have them anywhere for others songs (which is cool). Do you prefer people to make their own minds up? Or just listen to the music? Cheers! GavinJ
A I like the idea of people hearing the lyrics in the context of the music first, especially as I like both the lyrics and the music to tell the story of the song. However I am contemplating sharing the lyrics, now that the record has been out for a while.
Q Hi, Anna. My name is Jose Moreno. My question is: How much did you pay for your Telecaster? Has it been the most profitable purchase of your life? See you next wednesday at Teatro Lara (Madrid)
A I think I paid £600 and it has been one of the best purchases of my life!
Q ssitag asked you:
Dearest Anna, I’ve been trying to figure out that wonderful thing you do where you appear to use circular motions to produce heavenly harp-like sounds on your guitar. Do you have any tips for me? Plectrum placement and such? Lots of love, Girl From Winter Jargon
A hmm..try and get a constant flow of notes, and hold the pick quite loose in your hand.. sorry it’s hard to explain it, I’d have to give you a one to one lesson!
Q Dear Anna, what is your favourite Edith Piaf song (apart from ‘Jezebel’)? Cheers - TONIO
A Je ne regrette rien
QA s a singer, I sometimes wonder whether what I’m singing really/still conveys what I felt at the moment I wrote the lyrics… During a concert, I’m usually more focused on my voice as an instrument rather than a thought-provoking element. Do you ever get this feeling of being detached from a song, after playing it over and over again?
A When you’re singing you’re in the moment, carving your voice into a shape that reflects the song. If remembering the moment you wrote the song helps you connect emotionally then great, but it doesn’t have to be what you focus on, as long as you feel you’re expressing something real.
Q What do you think about musicians who use drugs in order to relax/loosen themselves up while on stage? What about those who take drugs to feel creativity or inspiration to create art?
A I’ve never really done that myself, so I don’t know what it’s like. But most drugs dull your emotions, which doesn’t seem like a good thing to me. I’ve never really been into that kind of thing.
Q What are you afraid of? Do you fear getting old or dying?
A I don’t mind the idea of being dead, I just don’t like the idea of it being painful. I think as long as I’m in a good place in my life I won’t mind getting old.
Q What types of questions do you wish journalists would ask you more often?
A I like answering these questions a lot more! I think it’s just the unimaginative that are difficult, like, ‘did you feel pressure when you started writing your second album’… !
Q You will perform soon for the second time at Le Trianon. Is it still the most beautiful venue you performed in or has some other one dethroned it :D ?
A no, it’s still the most beautiful to me!
Q This year Maria Callas would have been 90 years, would you pay tribute to her with a song ? Would you like to do something about her?
A I would love to do that, I learnt an aria from Verdi’s Otello which she used to sing, I’d like to perform that one day
Q What are you favorite foods to eat? Do you try to avoid eating a meal before a show?
A my favourite meal would be Pasta with vegetables and tomato sauce, followed by apple crumble and ice cream. I’m a shit cook so I don’t have high standards. I try not to eat too much before I sing.
Q Do you feel for women or men?
A .. I’ll quote Grace Jones: “feeling like a woman, looking like a man”
Q i-used-to-be-anon-p asked you:
Christmas will be soon. What do you think about traditions? (Are they important? Just some of them? Or are they silly?…)
A I don’t mind Christmas but I’m not into New Years Eve, I don’t like to be told I have to go out and have an amazing night.
Q brisbanjo-pj asked you:
Hi Anna, just wondering who or what inspired you to use the Fender Telecaster? Also who is you favourite Telecaster player?
A Jeff Buckley and Jeff Buckley!
Q Hi Anna! I enjoyed your Berlin concert end of september! Did you enjoy it too? Are there Hamburg dated in sight? Thank you for your music! Thomas
A i did enjoy it very much! I expect I will be plying in Hamburg next year, around Feb/March
celguio asked you:
Q What is your favorite piece from Ravel ? I really love the Piano Concerto in G Major. I can listen to it for days, what I can “see” in it moves me every time…(Thanks for your answer last time) - Celine
A I love that piece too, I also really love the string quartet in F major. I used to play Tzigan, so that piece has warm memories for me.
Q I saw an image of The Crying Game on your tumblr. I think an Anna Calvi version oh this song would be magnificent. Would you consider it?
A Yes definitely
Q petefrombristol asked you:
Anna, I was fascinated to read about Steve Reich’s influence on One Breath. Would you say that Different Trains’ fascination with memory, using repeated snippets of recorded memory, also influenced Piece by Piece? They both seem to relate to fragmentary memories.
A that’s an interesting link, and may have been something I thought of unconsciously, but the main influence of Piece by Piece was the pointilist work of Webern. I loved the idea of building up a texture or a visual representation of a piece of music through tiny pieces. This seems to mirror the way a memory is re constructed. I like the fact that each time the memory is re lived, it’s slightly more distorted. It reminds me of how matter is constantly moving towards chaos. All we can do is absorb everything around us as fully as possible before everything disappears.
Q Dear Anna, I have two questions which I wish to ask: #1 Being a budding musician myself, and sharing personality traits, how did you ever overcome stage fright (if you suffered any such symptoms of course)? Did you have external help, was it gradually acquired self-confidence or was it all just a matter of putting on a mask, taking on a different personality whilst on stage? #2 Since your music is so visual, have you ever considered writing a complete filmscore? If so, for what type of film?
A I didn’t really get stage fright after my first show, but if it is a problem, just keep doing it, eventually you’ll feel more comfortable in that situation, it will definitely get easier. I would really like to write music for a film, I wouldn’t say no to Gus Van Sant.
Q Hi Anna. I really like your music-you are very cool. I wanted to ask, what is your favourite episode of friends? Thanks!
A Haha, um.. the one with the Princes Leia fantasy! I have to admit something.. I know it’s really wrong but I kind of love 90’s Jennifer Aniston..I’m not proud of it..
Q Have you ever placed a flash drive of your music in a bottle and sent it to sea? Where do you suppose it would end up? Sincerely, K.W. (still gazing at the horizon for that bottle and message).
A I’d like to say New Zealand or somewhere like that, and I don’t actually know what a flash drive is, so I’ll go with a cassette tape!
Q eliasfeghaly asked you:
Beautiful Anna! You have probably heard this question many a times, but when it comes to songwriting, is there a process you do so words flow naturally on paper? and could you please share some of your writing techniques? Kindest, Elias
A words are tough..I record myself singing along the theme of the song and listen back to take good lines. I also take long walks and sing to myself. The worst thing to do is to stare at a blank piece of paper
Q I have seen you play several times, and in I’ll be your Man you come towards the audience, it is quite scary! Are you trying to scare people?
A I’m not trying to scare them exactly, but I’m looking for someone to connect with, and to play to. It just makes playing feel a lot more meaningful when that happens.
Q Hi Anna - I love both of your albums. It’s great to see that you’ve genuinely evolved as an artist with your second album. Refreshing, in fact!! What I want to ask you is this: do you feel music is a form of therapy for you? And how much do you feel your music encapsulates you? Thanks, Tom.
A -therapy feels like the wrong word, but it is liberating to be able to express yourself in such a powerful way. i think people who know me see a lot of who I am in my music, but there are obviously other sides that don’t come out. If I couldn’t express myself through music I would feel really lost.
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